(written in the late 80s/early 90s)

"Hypertext is non-sequential text."     
                 Ted Nelson,                 NELSON 
                 Computer Lib/Dream Machines                    

By this definition,
lots of things are
Hypercard stacks.
Outlines.  The         
whole earth                         (A slightly dated list, eh?
catalog.			    No mention of "the" web.)

Nelson has a dream of
"The Grand
Hypertext", which
would have _all_            A typical -- and trivial --
information in              example of a hypertext is a
immediately                 document with highlighted
accessible                  words that you can "click"
computerized form,          on to see a further
all connected and           explanation of the term.
indexed by a dynamic
web of links.                                     EXAMPLES

      Eric Drexler in _Engines of Creation_
      talks about forward tracing
      references: I just read a paper              This may seem mundane.
      about the physics of sputtering,             I doubt that it is:
      from 1923.  How do I know it wasn't          Imagine a world where
      discredited a few years later?               ignorance can no longer
      Drexler's point is that if all               be an excuse for lies.
      technical papers were stored on
      line, the references to previous                              LIES
      work could be traced forward to
      find later comments.

          And there's this thing                        DEEP_GNU
          you're reading, the
          "doomfile".  The idea is to       Thus far I pronounce
          outline my thoughts as            it good.  Useful for
          briefly as possible and try       _me_, at least...
          and take it all a few steps
          further.                           Could be a new
                                             prose form?         HYPERART

As hypertexts go, it's                          Would the doomfile make
limited.  It relies                             more sense if I drew
mostly on the implicit                          boxes around all the
links of a 2-D                                  para's, and connected
graphical layout.  The                          them with little arrows
use of special search                           like a flow chart?
key words as long
distance links strikes                                 Maybe.  But I wouldn't
me as clever in a few                                  like the way it looked.
ways, but it has
problems.            SCAFFOLDING

A problem with non-linear works
implemented as plain text: If I
start flipping through a work
at random (e.g. Nelson's _Dream
Machines_) I get to the point
where the things that catch my
eye are things that I've read
before.  This gets boring fast,
despite the fact that I know
that more than half of the work
remains un-read.  These days, I
read _The Whole Earth Review_
with a pencil in hand, rather
anally checking off items in
the Table of Contents as I look
at them.

Better to have anal retentive
computers than people.

"A literature is a system of interconnected writings. We do not offer this as our definition, but as a discovered fact. And almost all writing is part of some literature."

-- Ted Nelson, Literary Machines